In the late 19th century, the narrow street that became Milwaukee Avenue served as the first home in Minneapolis for immigrant families of Northern European workers who labored in the nearby Milwaukee Railroad yards and industrial shops.
A 1970s public agency’s renewal plan called for demolishing approximately 70% of the houses in the 35 block Seward West neighborhood, including all of the houses on Milwaukee Avenue. However, a neighborhood organization, the Seward West Project Area Committee (PAC), thwarted that plan, instead established rehabilitation of the houses as a principal development tool. PAC’s research led to Milwaukee Avenue’s local and national historic district designation.
The neighborhood organization’s 1970s redevelopment process rehabilitated 34 of the original 46 houses facing the street, and converted the once narrow street into a landscaped pedestrian walkway. The street’s unique architectural character renders a human scale quite different from the surrounding neighborhood. Milwaukee Avenue (exteriors only) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974.
The tour will walk 1/4 mile and is ADA accessible.
The tour is lead by Bob Roscoe, whose professional experience includes over three decades of architectural work as principal of Design for Preservation. In addition, he has served on the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, organized threatened building rescues, and provided leadership in various public preservation activities. Bob is the author of the book Milwaukee Avenue: Community Renewal in Minneapolis.